Strategy for Patient-Oriented Research (SPOR)

General

What is SPOR?
What is Patient-Oriented Research?
Why is SPOR Needed?

SUPPORT Units

What are SUPPORT Units?

SPOR Networks

What are SPOR Networks?
Network in Youth and Adolescent Health (TRAM)
Network in Primary and Integrated Health Care Innovations (PIHCI)
Identifying Future Networks

NSHRF Engagement/Support

Nationally
Maritime SPOR SUPPORT Unit (MSSU)

The SPOR Update

General

What is SPOR?

As one of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research’s (CIHR) Signature Initiatives, Canada’s Strategy for Patient-Oriented Research (SPOR) is a collaboration of researchers, provinces and territories, health care providers, patients and families – all working in partnership to integrate research into patient care. It proposes to identify gaps in treatment and care, provide the best evidence to fill those gaps and conduct new research when existing knowledge is incomplete. For more details on the Strategy visit the CIHR Website1.

What is Patient-Oriented Research?

Patient-oriented research, the cornerstone of evidence-informed health care, refers to a continuum of research, from initial studies in humans to comparative effectiveness and outcomes research, and the integration of this research into the health care system and clinical practice.

Patient-oriented research can be conducted by clinician researchers from all health care professions (e.g. nursing, medicine, pharmacy) as well as non-clinicians who conduct applied health research (e.g. clinical epidemiologists, biostatisticians, health economists). Patient-oriented research can be undertaken in all settings including the community (including primary and long-term care) and hospital settings.

Engaging patients is an integral component in the development and implementation of all elements of SPOR such as, but not limited to, SUPPORT Units and Networks. As such, stakeholder (patients, researchers, health care providers and decision-makers) uptake on orientation and engagement tools is imperative to the success of the model.

Patients' roles vary according to the contributions a patient is prepared to offer; however, the bar needs to be raised to allow jurisdictions to push the boundaries on the potential to build their capacity to engage patients in truly innovative roles and models of patient engagement. The patient perspective is integrated into every step of the research process including developing research questions, defining research objectives, collecting data and evaluating results. Some patients have the readiness to contribute as full members of research teams while others may bring a range of expertise such as in ethics or as knowledge brokers. Other patients bring the collective voice of specific, affected communities. Their knowledge and expertise offers insights about people who are unable to communicate on their own behalf. To learn more about patient engagement, click here2.

Why is SPOR Needed?

Canadian research excellence is recognized globally and the country ranks amongst the top in the world in terms of scientific impact of health research. Yet, evidence shows that 50 per cent of patients do not get treatments of proven effectiveness and up to 25 per cent get care that is not needed or potentially harmful. To learn more, click here3.

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SUPPORT Units

What are SUPPORT Units?

Support for People and Patient-Oriented Research and Trials (SUPPORT) Units are specialized, multi-disciplinary research service centres. Once in place, they will be located in provincial/territorial jurisdictions across Canada. SUPPORT Units will provide the necessary expertise to those engaged in patient-oriented research. To learn more, click here4. 

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SPOR Networks

What are SPOR Networks?

A SPOR Network is a collaboration of patients, health service providers, policy/decision-makers, and health researchers across Canada. Together, they conduct research that produces information that responds to the needs of patients. To learn more about SPOR Networks, click here.

The SPOR National Steering Committee has currently identified two targeted networks to deliver SPOR: 

  1. Network in Youth and Adolescent Mental Health (TRAM)
    Transformational Research in Adolescent Mental Health (TRAM) is a network that aims to improve the care provided to young Canadians with mental illness by translating promising research findings into practice and policy. Following a competitive process, the Eskasoni First Nation Mental Health Services, as part of the ACCESS-Canada Network (Adolescent/young adult Connections to Community-driven Early Strengths-based and stigma-free Services), was confirmed as the Nova Scotia site of this Network. To learn more, click here.  
     
  2. Network in Primary and Integrated Health Care Innovations (PIHCI)
    The SPOR Network in Primary and Integrated Health Care Innovations (PIHCI) is a network of networks with research-policy-clinical leadership that has foundations in community-based primary health care and is focused on creating vertically and horizontally integrated health care delivery systems within and across sectors of health care (e.g., public health, primary health care, secondary, tertiary, home and long-term care) as well as outside of the health sector (e.g., education, housing, social services). The Network’s goal is to support evidence-informed transformation and delivery of primary and integrated health care to improve individual and population health, health equity, and health system outcomes. To learn more, click here.

    In Nova Scotia, the primary and integrated health care innovations network is Building Research for Integrated Primary Healthcare (BRIC NS). Funded by CIHR and NSHRF, BRIC NS is committed to building a strong foundation for primary and integrated healthcare research in Nova Scotia. BRIC NS is focused on research that improves outcomes for patients with or at risk of developing complex needs. Funding opportunities specifically available to members of the primary and integrated health care networks will be launched by CIHR between now and 2020. BRIC NS welcomes new members from all disciplines and sectors. Find out more by visiting www.bricns.com

Identifying Future Networks

The CIHR SPOR National Steering Committee reviewed the results of their consultations on health research priorities and Expressions of Interest at their meeting in June 2013 to determine next steps towards the launch of a funding opportunity(s) for SPOR networks. This opportunity is in development. To learn more, click here5.

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NSHRF Engagement/Support

Nationally

Krista Connell, NSHRF CEO, has been involved in the development and design of SPOR on the national level in several ways, including:

  • The CIHR National Steering Committee for the Coalition on the Canadian Strategy for Patient-Oriented Research, 2011-2014.
  • The CIHR President’s Advisory Board, Support for People and Patient-Oriented Research and Trials, 2009-2010.
  • Institute Advisory Board member for the Institute of Health Services and Policy Research
  • Participation in the National Alliance of Provincial Health Research Organization’s consultations and advisory meetings.

Maritime SPOR SUPPORT Unit (MSSU)

The goal of the Maritime SPOR SUPPORT Unit (MSSU) is to efficiently use scarce resources so that stakeholders can better address critical health issues in patient-oriented and health services research. The Unit will provide a suite of services including strategic and technical expertise in observational and experimental research, consultancy services, a training facility and a common data platform that will facilitate evaluative and interventional studies designed to improve the health of people in the Maritime Provinces. The Unit requires the collaboration of governmental policy-makers, health authority decision-makers, healthcare researchers in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, and will consolidate and build upon existing infrastructure and regional resources. Patient engagement will be an important feature to assist with the selection of research priorities for study. The Unit presents a tremendous opportunity to bring more evidence to health care decision and policy-making in the region.

The NSHRF is a partner in the Maritime SPOR SUPPORT Unit (MSSU) and participates on numerous MSSU Committees, including:

  • Executive Committee
  • Provincial Committee
  • Knowledge Translation and Implementation Science Working Group
  • Communications Committee

Inquiries related to the Maritime SPOR SUPPORT Unit can be addressed to SPOR@dal.ca

Important Links:

Maritime SPOR SUPPORT Unit Fact Sheet

Vision and Significance (PDF Attachment)

In addition to providing guidance on the aforementioned MSSU Committees, the NSHRF provides funding to SPOR initiatives, including $550,000 a year for five years. We have also provided $75,000 in funding to support the development phase of the Nova Scotia SPOR Network in Primary and Integrated Health Care Innovations (NS-PIHCI). 

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The SPOR Update

The SPOR Update is a CIHR sponsored e-bulletin that provides the latest news on the Strategy for Patient-Oriented Research (SPOR), including research news, funding opportunities, workshops and more. To subscribe, click here.  

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[1] CIHR. 2013. SPOR Update. Retrieved from http://www.cihr-irsc.gc.ca/e/47010.html.

[2] CIHR. 2010. Strategy for Patient-Oriented Research. Retrieved from http://www.cihr-irsc.gc.ca/e/41232.html#b3

[3] CIHR. 2013. SPOR Update. Retrieved from http://www.cihr-irsc.gc.ca/e/47010.html. 

[4] CIHR. 2013. What are SUPPORT Units? Retrieved from http://www.cihr-irsc.gc.ca/e/45854.html

[5] CIHR. 2014. SPOR Networks. Retrieved from http://cihr-irsc.gc.ca/e/45854.html.